By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)-Region 12 and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) here raided two warehouses and seized 798 boxes of fake cigarettes at Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) port here Thursday, September 12.
The raid was conducted after the CIDG received reports of fake cigarettes stashed in the two warehouses few months ago.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Luke Ventura, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Negros Occidental head, said they conducted monitoring for six months and coordinated with the BIR before launching the raid.
Nobody was inside the warehouses when the authorities arrived around 5 p.m., but authorities have identified the owner, whom they refused to name in the meantime.
Ventura said they are validating if these products are produced in the Visayas, as they continue to monitor other possible existence of the fake cigarettes here.
BIR officials have yet to declare the amount of the confiscated fake cigarettes during their inventory yesterday. But based on their initial computation, each box has 50 rims and each box is equivalent to P17,500 excise tax.
“This is economic sabotage kasi hindi sila nagbabayad ng tax sa government,” Ventura said.
The confiscated items are now under the custody of BIR-Region 12.
Meanwhile, BIR-Region 12 director Antonio Jonathan Jaminola, said consumers won’t be able to determine if these products are fakes when sold in the markets.
“This is even more harmful to a person’s health because we don’t even know how these illegally manufactured products were made,” he added.
Jaminola said that the owner of these products has violated Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
In February 2018, BIR Region 12, which covers Negros Island and Siquijor, also seized about P4 million worth of fake cigarettes here.
In 2017, several boxes and sacks of fake cigarettes along with an estimated 500 grams of suspected marijuana mixed in tea packs were also confiscated by police operatives from a factory in Barangay Bata here.